Tuesday, September 7, 2010

New working paper: "Knowledge Diversity in the Emerging Global Bio-Nano Sector"

My co-authors and I have a new working paper out on SSRN: http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1672506

Knowledge Diversity in the Emerging Global Bio-Nano Sector

Elicia Maine 
Management of Technology; Policy Analysis, Simon Fraser University

Martin J. Bliemel 
Australian School of Business - Strategy and Entrepreneurship

Armstrong Murira 
affiliation not provided to SSRN

August 31, 2010

Great opportunities and radical innovation are most likely to occur at the convergence of two or more technology streams. A bio-nano sector is emerging from such a convergence and may eventually provide radical innovation and new dominant firms. As there are no comprehensive reviews on this emerging sector, this paper provides a descriptive overview, identifying what types of firms are entering, from what knowledge base, where they are located, and their strategic choices in terms of technological diversity, R&D strategy, business model, and areas of clinical focus.

The firms engaged in bio-nano research and development span the range from start-up firm to multinational pharmaceutical, biotech, chemical, and electronics firms: three quarters of bio-nano firms are relatively young and relatively small. The United States dominates this sector, with more than half of all bio-nano firms located in the USA. Even within this sector which epitomizes the convergence of technology, there is a broad range of technological diversity, with the most diverse firms overall coming from a base in electronics, the most diverse start-up firms coming from a base in nanomaterials, and the most narrowly focused firms coming from a biotechnology/pharmaceutical base. We compare firm size with R&D strategy. The smaller firms have less diverse patent portfolios and are more likely to follow a hybridization knowledge diversity strategy, while the larger firms have more diverse patent portfolios and more widespread use of a juxtaposition R&D strategy.

Keywords: knowledge diversity, biotechnology, nanotechnology, technology convergence, radical innovation, emerging technology sector, hybridization, juxtaposition

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